I have had a difficult time deciding whether or not to post a piece on the anniversary of 9/11. I have been indecisive because of the sacredness of this date and I wondered if I could ever write something that would appropriately honor the many lives lost on September 11, 2001, and since in the war in Afghanistan. I have felt that with so many voices adding to the lexicon of 9/11, what in the world can I offer to properly remember the day’s tragic events? But in the end, I decided that perhaps the best way for me to pay tribute to 9/11 is to write about the resoluteness of my quest to expand educational opportunities for children in Afghanistan through our teacher training program, The Exceptional Children’s Laboratory School.
Like so many, I have been profoundly affected by the events of 9/11 and for years afterwards as I raised my children and attended to my life’s responsibilities, I held on to a sense that I must do something to help my country. Finally, in 2009 I began to put together a plan to assist children with disabilities and train teachers in Afghanistan in an effort to help bring development and peace to that country. It has been a difficult road so far – mostly in convincing the US and Afghan governments that children with disabilities should be valued and that in fact, these special children are capable of making meaningful contributions to the future peace and prosperity of Afghanistan. In spite of the difficulties, I remain convinced that we will achieve our goals in establishing The Exceptional Children's Laboratory School in Kabul, so please stay tuned.
Because Afghanistan will forever be connected to the events of 9/11, it is imperative that our country realize that we have realpolitik interests in the region, and just as before, if we let Afghanistan go the way of radicalism it will surely visit our shores. What Afghanistan needs most right now are Afghan teachers and Afghan soldiers. Soldiers to help bring peace to that troubled country, and teachers to help create a more literate population. It is only through assisting future generations of Afghans achieve a greater peace and by expanding educational opportunities that Afghanistan can move from radicalism to a future of prosperity.
*Photos courtesy of Everything Afghanistan.